Cronulla and Parramatta have extra motivation to honour a fallen brother.
The Cronulla Sharks and the Parramatta Eels with be playing for much more than two competition points this weekend, when the Johnny Mannah Cup goes on the line.
Despite having played just 24 games in the NRL, Mannah’s career and life were cut well short after he died of Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the age of 22 earlier this year.
The Mannah name family has links to both clubs, with Johnny plying his trade with the Sharks before being diagnosed while big brother Tim has established himself as one of the leaders at Parramatta.
They should have both been playing under Ricky Stuart at Parramatta Stadium this year, but tragically, Tim is the only Mannah on the Eels books this season.
The New South Wales prop said it was amazing that the NRL and both clubs would chose to immortalise Tim in such was moving way.
“To think that my little brother, my little brother who never really played a whole lot of NRL, could leave an impact as big as he has and to be afforded this type of honour, it’s something so special for the family,” Tim said.
Cronulla Paul Gallen, who played alongside Tim at the Sharks, said he was a “gentleman of the game” and he often marvelled at his strength despite undergoing chemotherapy.
“Johnny was as tough as they come,” Gallen said.
“He was sick, sore and instead of feeling sorry for himself he’d turn up to training at Cronulla with a smile from ear to ear.
“Quite often I’ll think about Johnny, and think why he kept turning up to training even though he was battling cancer.
“It was because he loved the game.
“He loved being around his teammates and just enjoying the opportunity that life had presented him. That’s inspiration right there.”